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by Phil Butler

Tomasz Janczak, the Europe Director E-Commerce& Distribution of Plateno Group, is a respected industry expert, and an asset to the company that, through a strategic partnership with Jin Jiang International, is now the world's largest top 5 hotel company. His knowledge of the European market is instrumental in the growth of the Plateno brand on the continent.

Already on a roll, the European expansion of Plateno Group is watched closely by hospitality experts, who are weighing on its signification. Building on this momentum, Janczak has answered a few important questions for Hotel-Online.

Phil Butler: Recently Plateno Group launched the PAI Hotels brand for Europe. We know this is an easy-to-adopt budget hotel brand, but can you tell us more about the market you intend to reach with PAI? 

Tomasz Janczak: Geographically we do not limit ourselves to any region, but our first focus will be on CEE, SEE, and CIS countries. We have excellent market knowledge here; this is the market that needs a product like PAI urgently. Also, keep in mind that Central Europe becomes a hot spot for Chinese travelers. If you look at the One Belt-One Road project, this is exactly where we want to be with PAI, as we are sure, that together with infrastructure investments along the Silk Road, there will also be developing business and leisure tourism. Central Europe is motivating for PAI, as many international hotel brands are currently coming with their new projects. These will undoubtedly change the market and the competition, making the life of independent hoteliers more difficult. Thanks to the "easy-to-join" PAI brand, these hoteliers can still be competitive, offering their local style and personal approach, but at the same time using the strength and benefits of being a part of a global hotel brand of Chinese origin.

PB: Plateno Group's Alex Zheng was just in the news about this year's Plateno Collection hotels branding show. How much emphasis is Plateno Group putting on helping hotels outside China reaching Generation Y or the Millennials? 

TJ: To answer this, let’s take a look at the Plateno Collection to see what's new. During last year’s event, we presented Plateno Trip, the travel mobile APP, which answers the needs of GenY. Plateno Trip is the first guest-centric mobile app, which was created by the hotel company, and the goal was not to make the hotel booking easier, but to make guests' experience complete. Thus Plateno Trip is not only a hotel APP, but a travel APP, where users can plan their entire trip, book tickets to local attractions, appoint guides, arrange transportation, etc. We went forward, and instead of limiting ourselves to "matching" travelers with local travel suppliers, we encourage them to use the app as the communication tool with the hotel, and as a platform for networking with other guests. Currently, the app is being adapted for use outside of China, and we are sure this will support all Plateno Trip hotels in their approach towards Millenials.

PB: Can we expect any so-called "experiential" hotel innovations for Plateno Group in Europe upcoming? 

TJ: Plateno in Europe is still at the beginning of the development path, and we are always looking into possibilities to introduce more innovative ideas.  As Brand Architect, President and Founder of Plateno Group Alex Zheng says, "When you come to a hotel, in addition to facilities and services, you would also consider whether you have good feelings towards it and whether you match each other in style and taste.”

Plateno's hotel brands ideally reflect this statement, as there are not so many hotels, which address their offer to coffee lovers, as our James Joyce Coffetel Hotels, or ZMAX Hotels, which targets young, active travelers. "Ladies- only" Xana Hotels, with their special conditions for women, or H12 art hotel, perfect for lovers of beauty.

We are currently looking into potential partnerships in Europe, and there is a strong possibility that a new Plateno brand will emerge here, and then it will go under the Group's umbrella for global development. Anything is possible!

PB: How does Plateno Connect factor in with Plateno's overall growth? 

TJ. This is a unique market proposition, which shows Plateno’s flexibility towards new opportunities. With Plateno Connect we answer the need of European hoteliers to get brand awareness and distribution in the Chinese market, the largest outbound travel market in the world, with a record 130 million travelers, who traveled outside China in 2016. Based on recent forecasts, this number will double by 2020, and we want to facilitate this opportunity, by opening new marketing and distribution channels for European hotels. It's an alternative to Tour operators, who play the main role in outbound travel at the moment. One of Plateno's strengths is direct distribution, based on integrated technologies and innovative approach towards brand marketing. Plateno Connect is the combination of technology, marketing, and distribution, backed by a successful Chinese hotel company, which grown during ten years from 0 to almost 4000 hotels. How many hotel companies can prove such efficiency on the Chinese market?

As we can see, Plateno Group has set out on a multi-faceted strategy to now only cure for points of market pain, but in order to (as Jankzak puts it) “complete the guest experience”. The easy to adopt PAI brand a fundamental element aimed at needy independents in that segment, but I find Plateno Connect and the digital connectives with all those Chinese travlers most compelling. Understanding the Chinese way of doing tourism and travel is vital, as is the adoption of the channels that reach this growing market demographic. Like the Plateno executive says; “How many hotels companies” out there have direct access to Chinese people headed to Europe or North America? The bottom line in my view is, getting sellers is easy once you have the buyers in place. Maybe this is the easiest way to understand Plateno’s growing success. 

About Phil Butler

Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, and analyst who's also a partner at the travel PR firm, Pamil Visions. A widely cited expert on technology startups, digital marketing and PR, and Eastern Europe, he's contributed to media such as The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, NEO, Travel Daily News, The Prague Post, Pravda, and many others worldwide. Phil is considered one of the pioneers in digital media and social as well.

Contact: Phil Butler

phil@pamil-visions.com / 49 151 610 10958

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